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Italian meringue buttercream

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Italian meringue buttercream rose cakeSomebody actually ordered two cakes from me this week! Can you believe it? The cakes requested included Italian meringue buttercream and had to be covered with piped roses. I had no idea at the time what the cakes were for (birthday, anniversary…). However, given that I have trouble piping sometimes, I decided to do a test run the week-end before just to be sure I knew what I was doing, and also so I knew how much buttercream to prepare when the time came. I opted for a play on violet for the test cake, though the final cakes were to be pink/cream.

 

Italian meringue buttercream piped with 1M Wilton tip to make a rose cakeWhat I didn’t realize is that the cakes requested were for a small wedding ceremony! Boy was I glad I had done a trial run when I found out what they were for. I learned the news when the couple came to pick up the cakes! So, not only did I get my first cake order, but in a sense, I also ended up making my first wedding cake!

 Piping with Italian meringue buttercream to make a rose cake
 

I have to confess that I am back to making Italian meringue buttercream (IMBC)—and therefore Italian meringue—with my trusty KA stand mixer. Yeah, I know, I learned how to make Italian meringue by hand with a giant balloon whisk just a few months ago, but let’s face it: the ease of preparation and the result obtained with the stand mixer cannot be beat.

One thing I found interesting from this practice session: it is much easier to make a double batch of IMBC than a single batch because the whipped egg whites (before the addition of the syrup) fill the 6.5 Qt mixer bowl enough that adding the syrup is much easier, without worrying about spraying it over the beater! From now on, I will be making my IMBC in double batches (therefore 10 egg whites at a time) instead of single batches. I’ll freeze the leftovers.

 
Piped Italian meringue buttercream to make a rose cakeTo assemble and decorate this 3-layer 8-inch cake, I needed one 10-egg white batch of IMBC. I assembled and lightly frosted the cake with the plain, uncolored buttercream, then I split the remainder (~900 grams) into three bowls and colored each with a different amount of violet gel color (from Ateco/Spectrum). I used i am baker‘s fantastic rose cake tutorial for the piping using a 1M tip from Wilton. I found it difficult to properly fill the space and estimate the rose size to pipe, but I think I will soon get the hang of this. Also, my two darker lilac colors are too similar. I guess I need to work on my coloring technique too!

All in all, for my first attempts at this piping technique, I’m pretty pleased! If you love making layer cakes as much as I do, definitely give this technique a try, and check out my other layer cake and frostings and fillings recipes.

Italian meringue buttercream recipe

 

Italian meringue buttercream piped with 1M Wilton tip to make a rose cake
5 from 1 vote
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Italian meringue buttercream

Ever wondered how to make real Italian meringue buttercream? Here's what you need and how to make it at home.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Calories 53 kcal
Author Janice

Ingredients

  • 125 mL water 1/2 cup
  • 560 grams granulated sugar 2 1/2 cups, divided
  • 10 egg whites from large eggs
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 908 grams unsalted butter 4 cups, room temperature
  • Two pinches salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Pour the water in a small saucepan. Top with the granulated sugar, reserving a 1/4 cup. Don’t stir. Just put it on the burner on medium heat. Clip on your candy thermometer.
  2. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a pinch of cream of tartar. Start the mixer on medium-low to begin frothing the whites.
  3. When the sugar begins to boil, increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high. When the whites are at soft peaks, gradually add the reserved sugar. Continue beating to stiff (not dry) peaks.
  4. When the sugar reaches 248°F (121°C), turn off the heat, unclip the thermometer and then slowly pour the hot sugar in a fine stream down the side of the bowl, being sure not to hit the beater (or it will splash!).
  5. When all the sugar is added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Increase the speed to high and beat til the mixture has just about cooled (this takes a good 5–10 mins for such a large batch).
  6. When the meringue has cooled, start adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running on medium.
  7. When all the butter has been added, increase the mixer to high to beat until the buttercream forms and is smooth.
  8. Beat in the vanilla and the salt.

Recipe Notes

Calories calculated per tablespoon of buttercream made according to this Italian meringue buttercream recipe

 

butter, buttercream, cake decorating, italian meringue, layer cake, meringue, vanilla, wedding cake

22 Responses to Italian meringue buttercream

  1. Maggie September 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Congratulations!! These are some gorgeous cakes! I was going to make some swiss meringue buttercream (my go-to recipe) for cupcakes tonight but maybe I’ll try your Italian Meringue instead…I’ve been curious to try one for awhile. 🙂

  2. Dafna Y. September 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    This is AMAZING!

    What will I do with this blog? Every recipe makes me wanna run to the kitchen and start baking… Not that I’m complaining… Not really 🙂

    Way to go, both the pink and the violet cakes look beautiful.

  3. Michelle September 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Can you say YUMMMMMMM! That looks amazing!

    Are you now selling your cakes privately? Can I do a blog post on you and your amazing talents? Send me an email…!

    • Jan September 24, 2012 at 3:06 am #

      Thanks, Michelle! I will send you an email 😉

  4. Charlotte October 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    These look gorgeous! I would definitely order some cakes from you!

  5. Alejandra Jimenez January 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Congratulations!!, I’ll try this recipe, thanks 🙂

  6. Unknown September 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    These cakes are beautiful! I’m wondering about the heat stability of this recipe. It looks like the icing was probably pretty easy to work with. Do you know how well it could stand up to heat? I’m decorating a cake for an outdoor wedding where it might be up to 90 degrees outside, though the cake with not be in full sun. I’m trying to decide on an IMBC versus a regular BC (no shortening).

  7. Unknown September 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    These cakes are beautiful! I’m wondering about the heat stability of this recipe. It looks like the icing was probably pretty easy to work with. Do you know how well it could stand up to heat? I’m decorating a cake for an outdoor wedding where it might be up to 90 degrees outside, though the cake with not be in full sun. I’m trying to decide on an IMBC versus a regular BC (no shortening).

    • Janice Lawandi September 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

      I know for a fact, out of all the “real buttercreams” (by that I mean those that are egg/sugar syrup based, and finished with butter), the Italian meringue buttercream is the most stable at high temperatures. And usually, for summer/high heat events, cake makers often use Italian meringue buttercream, instead of Swiss. It should hold up, but make sure the cake is decorated cake is chilled overnight to give it a “cool start”. That being said, I cannot recommend leaving any cake in hot weather for too long a period, simply for hygienic reasons… Good luck!

  8. Unknown September 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Thanks so much for your quick response! This gives me some relief and I will make sure that we keep it as cool as possible for as long as possible 🙂

  9. Angela September 10, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    Hi, this is the first recipe/how to I have found via Google which I have total confidence in trying! Thanks 🙂 I was wondering if you had tried a white chocolate version and how this is best incorporated; by adding straight cooled melted chocolate after all the butter has been beaten in? Also any advice on how much chocolate for this sized batch of IMBC?

  10. Angela September 12, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    Trying it now, will report back when I emerge from the mound of butter and sugar!! 🙂

  11. Phyllis Hampton March 26, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    can you use store bought egg whites? if so how much

    • Janice March 26, 2015 at 10:15 am #

      Hi Phyllis, store-bought egg whites are very convenient but most pastry chefs don’t recommend using them for meringues because they don’t whip up as high. Still, I think this will work, you just might not achieve the same volume and “lightness” as with freshly cracked/separated egg whites. Hope that helps!

    • Janice March 30, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      I forgot to answer your question about how much egg whites to use. The egg white in a large egg weighs around 30 grams, so for 10 of them, I’d use 300 grams of egg whites.

  12. Maram July 8, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    Thanks for posting this recipe, I will definitely be using it often! it is more than addictive and really easy to make. I had to scoop out a couple of table spoons for the rest of the family to sample and all found it extremely delicious. I made it to frost my sister’s birthday cake in a couple of days and can’t wait to taste it with the vanilla cake I made. I really appreciate you put such an accurate recipe mentioning quantities in grams as well as cups, I always find weighting ingredients yields more consistent results.
    Just a little tip, to cut down the mixing time of egg whites when adding the hot syrup, I used a big bag of frozen peas and wrapped it around my mixing bowl while it was running. The mixture definitely cooled faster and my peas didn’t melt 🙂

  13. Roseanna July 15, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    Hi Janice, Have you ever used pasteurized eggs? I have tried it but they didn’t whip up enough. Where do you get your eggs are f not from the store?,farmers markets? Thanks

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Cream of tartar is a white powder that you probably have used when making meringues for an italian meringue buttercream, or in egg-white based desserts like these chocolate pavlovas. And combined with baking soda and a […]

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